Jicama vs Turnip: Can You Spot Their Differences?

If you are trying to eat Jicama Shrimp Salad, but your refrigerator is out of the main ingredient, is it possible to use turnip instead?

The following article will mention the similarities and differences between the jicama and the turnip to help you determine whether one can replace one with the other.

Quick Facts


  • Origin: Mexico and Central America
  • Appearance: rough, thick brown skin
  • Nutritional value: the seeds, stems, and leaves can cause poisoning
  • Cooking method: peel skin before eating


  • Origin: East and Central Asia
  • Appearance: relatively smooth, white, or purple skin
  • Nutritional value: the leaves are edible
  • Cooking method: no need to peel before eating

The Similarities

People often confuse these two because jicama is known by other names like yam bean, Chinese turnip, Chinese potato, Mexican turnip, or Mexican potato. 

Furthermore, the turnip is similar to the jicama because of its oval shape and light off-white skin after peeling. Both root vegetables are low in calories and can be eaten raw.

The Main Differences

1. Origin

Jicama is native to tropical climates, including Mexico and Central America; the botanical name is Pachyrhizus Erosus. It is a member of the potato family, with white or blue flowers. The only part you can eat is the sweet and crispy flesh of the root. 

Its primary season is from November to June, and its development time is 4–9 months (depending on size of the tuber).

The turnip is native to East Asia and Central Asia and is grown in cool, temperate regions. It is commonly grown from August to October and can be harvested 40–55 days after sowing. It has the botanical name Brassica rapa and belongs to the Cruciferae or Brassicaceae family. Its flowers are pale yellow.

2. Appearance

Although they are similar in shape, their appearance is different. Jicama has rough, thick brown skin. When processing, you must completely remove its skin before cooking.

Turnips usually have smooth, white or purple skin and white flesh inside. Unlike jicama, their leaves are edible.

3. Nutritional value

Jicama is high-fiber and low-calorie. In addition, it is also a tuber rich in vitamins and minerals (calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, zinc, copper, phosphorus, and vitamins E, K, A, B, C). 

Yet, these nutrients are only concentrated in the roots, while its stem, leaves, and bark are poisonous and should not be eaten. On the other hand, eating jicamas helps strengthen the immune system and increases the prevention of cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, colds, flu, digestive problems, and skin-related diseases.

The turnip is also a low-calorie and low-fat root vegetable. In addition to the significant fiber content, it also contains many minerals such as iron, potassium, zinc, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, manganese, and vitamins B, C, and K. Hence, people may include it in their diets when they plan to lose weight. 

In addition to strengthening immunity, eating turnips also reduces the risk of blood pressure diseases and cancers involving the rectum and colon. It also support the treatment of rheumatism, osteoporosis, and diseases related to the digestive system (constipation). 

However, you should not overeat turnip because it has oxalic acid, which is quickly deposited in the kidneys and can cause kidney stones to form.

4. Cooking method

Jicama can be used raw or cooked, but the outer skin must first be removed. Then, you can make salads, stir-fries, or soups.

Turnip, similarly, can be eaten raw or cooked, grilled, or made into salads, steamed dishes, and soups. Incredibly, when using young turnips for cooking, you do not need to peel them.

What do the Irish call turnips?

In Ireland, the Irish call it “turnip.” Meanwhile, Canadians and Americans call this root vegetable “rutabaga.” 

“Swede” is the preferred term in countries like England, Australia, New Zealand, India, Wales, and many other parts of the world. Sometimes, in the US, people call this root vegetable “Swedish turnip” or “Yellow turnip.” 

Is jicama good for keto?

Yes, jicama is suitable for a keto diet. It is relatively low in calories because 100g of jicama only has about 38 calories. At the same time, this food contains fiber and other vitamins and minerals that are very good for the body. Therefore, you can use it for a low-carb diet or a keto diet.

Below is the nutritional value in 100 grams of jicama:

  • 4 grams of net carbs
  • 5 grams of fiber
  • 9 grams of carbohydrates

What vegetable is similar to a turnip?

Because of the radish’s unique pungent flavor, it’s not as easy to replace it with any other root vegetable as some people think. But if you don’t have any other choice, here are some vegetables with similar tastes and textures to turnip, including rutabaga, parsnip, celery root, and beet. You can find one of them in grocery stores, and supermarkets.

Why do the Cornish call “Swedes” “turnips”?

Almost everyone in Cornwall thinks “Swede” and “turnip” are two different root vegetables. The Swede is a big, hard tuber with thick, rough skin and yellow flesh. On the contrary, the turnip is smaller, the skin is smoother, and the flesh is white.

However, some Cornish people call “Swedes” “turnips” because the Swede goes into Cornish pasties.

Does jicama taste like a turnip?

Some people say that jicama tastes a bit like turnip, while others find the two vegetables to be quite different in flavor. Whether you think they taste alike or not, both jicama and turnips are healthy and nutritious additions to any diet. Jicama is high in fiber and vitamin C, while turnips are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and folate.

Does raw jicama cause gas?

Some people find that raw jicama can cause gas or bloating, but this is not universal. If you are new to eating jicama, start slowly and see how your body reacts. You may want to avoid eating jicamas if you are already experiencing digestive problems.

Can I cook jicama?

Yes, you can cook a jicama. It is a versatile vegetable that can be roasted, boiled, or even stir-fried. Jicama is also great for making chips or fries.

Does jicama have to be refrigerated?

The jicama does not have to be refrigerated, but it will last longer if you store it in a cool, dry place. You can also freeze jicama for up to 5 or 6 months.

What does jicama look like?

The jicama is a long, white vegetable that is shaped a bit like a turnip. It has thin skin and crisp, juicy flesh.

Can you eat a turnip raw?

Yes, you can eat a turnip raw. It has a slightly bitter taste but is mostly sweet. You can add it to salads or just eat it by itself. In addition, you can also juice turnip to get its nutrients.

What are the benefits of eating raw turnips?

There are many benefits of eating turnips raw. First, it is a good source of dietary fiber, which can help with digestion and elimination. In addition, turnips are a good source of vitamins C and K, both of which are important for immune health. Finally, turnips are also a good source of antioxidants, which can help protect the body against disease.

How should you store turnips?

You should store turnips in the fridge, where they will last for about a week. You can also freeze turnips, which will keep them fresh for several months.

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The post Jicama vs Turnip: Can You Spot Their Differences? first appeared in Mama Say What?!

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